Bits & Bytes: Thankful

Robert reflects on what he’s thankful for this year!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 11/21/2021 23:59 Comment on this     ShareThis

Bits & Bytes is a weekly column where Editor-in-Chief Robert shares his thoughts about video games and the industry on a lazy Sunday. Light reading for a day of rest, Bits & Bytes is short, to the point, and something to read with a nice drink.

2021 hasn’t been all that much better than 2020. Lots of crazy, rotten things happening in the world. In some ways it feels like 2021 was the crappy sequel to an already bad movie.

Still, despite it all, 2021 has offered some good things along with the bad, and with Thanksgiving right around the corner I thought I would pinpoint the things that I’m grateful for this year (so far).

I guess the biggest thing for me was being able to start teaching game design at my alma mater. I’ve wanted to be a teacher on and off for years now. With my master’s degree finally wrapped in 2020, it was simply a matter of waiting for an opportunity to open up at my college. Having spent so much of my life on that campus, it only felt right to go back there and begin my teaching career. That I was fortunate enough to actually have it happen is something that is still blowing my mind.

A shelf in my office, covered in gaming books ready to be turned into readings and lecture materials!

That I get to teach game design, however, is the icing on the cake. I feel, in many ways, like I’ve been slowly building towards this without realizing it. I thought I’d one day teach art or English or something. Instead, I’m getting to focus on the thing that I’m arguably most passionate about in my life. This first semester has been wonderful. My students are creative and talented, and being able to come in and talk games on a deep, academic level is something that I will never get tired of.

It wasn’t all that long ago that game design wouldn’t have been on the radar of any university’s course catalogue. Now, it’s a regular part of the academic landscape. That I can pass along what I know to students who will go on and make the sort of games that I can only dream of feels like a genuinely big deal. I’m doing my best to treat it seriously. Next semester, I’ll be dipping my toes into teaching straight up video game design when I take over the Game Design II class. I’m nervous. But as the title of this week’s column says, I’m thankful to be in this position.

What are you all thankful for? Even if it’s something as simple as being healthy and able to sit down for dinner with your families, I would argue that that’s plenty to be grateful for. Hold onto the small things as well as the big when you’re feeling down and looking for a reason to continue carrying on.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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